I’m A Mom Of An Ordinary Kid

by Gigi Ross on February 7, 2013

My nerves jangled like an old-school alarm clock as I watched the stage.

I repeated a silent prayer: Please. Just please, let something go his way.

To his face, I had made it seem like No Big Deal.

“If you don’t win, don’t worry about it. There will be plenty of other elections, plenty of other leadership opportunities. This is only the beginning.”

But it was a Big Deal. To him, and to me.

Because I’m the mom of an ordinary kid.

I’m the mom of a kid who runs on the wrong side of LuckyTown; who has to work just a little bit harder than everybody else at most things.

I’m the mom that sits at TaeKwonDo tournaments and hopes for the first place that doesn’t come. I’m the mom that’s been at soccer games and basketball games and ached inside, wishing that the sheer will of my love for this kid could make a ball float effortlessly from his foot or hand into the goal or hoop.

He is smart, but not a scary smart genius. Well-liked, but not charismatically popular. Funny, but not the class clown.

Ordinary in all the ways by which parents standing on a playground at recess would size kids up.

But he’s incredibly patient. He knows how to control his anger. He is intuitive, and so very kind. He respects rules. He is diligent, and earnest in everything he does. Everything.

He was so brave  to be a new kid at school this year and run for Student Council Vice President and give a speech in front of hundreds of children, teachers, and parents.

The day before his speech, and the election, he came home after school and started crying when I pushed him to re-check his language arts homework. I watched as tears slowly filled his huge brown eyes like the porthole on a submarine.

“I had a bad day, Mom.”

There is a group of boys who plays basketball every day at recess. One of the boys is not being so nice to Boy Wonder and the others. He mocks them. Calls them names. Calls them retarded.

“I stood up to him today, Mom. He was making fun of my friend. And I walked over to him, and I pushed him, and I said, “You need to stop making fun of all of us. We’re tired of it.”

This is who my son is. Ordinary, and yet, so extraordinary in the ways that will never be measured on the athletic field or in the classroom.

I said, “I don’t care if you win this election or any other election. Do you know how special you are? Do you know how many kids would be afraid to stand up to a mean kid like that and defend his friends?”

But, like I said, I do care.

Not because the election is any sort of validation of who my kid is.

But because he fucking deserves it. That’s why.

He got up on that stage.

And he slayed his speech, improvising and adding little bits to make it funnier. This little 9 year-old boy that they told me might be autistic seven years ago.

We wouldn’t know the election results until the afternoon. I spent the day wondering, and whispering that prayer again: Please.

I got to the school early and pulled into the loading zone. I rolled my window down just in time to hear the principal get on the PA system.

I’d like to announce the winners of the Student Council Elections.”

First historian, then treasurer, then secretary, then vice-president.

Our new Vice President….

I rifled through my mental rolodex of past moments just like this. Tournaments and games. I held my breath, yearning again the way only a mother of an ordinary kid can.


And I heard his name.




Kristen Howerton February 7, 2013 at 11:32 pm

What a beautiful tribute to your son!

Gigi Ross February 8, 2013 at 10:13 am

Thanks, Kristen. He’s a pretty cool kid.

Arena February 7, 2013 at 11:52 pm

I’m crying. You summed up so beautifully how we mothers see our children and how society judges them. I am so glad for this win for your little man. You are right — he deserves it.

Gigi Ross February 8, 2013 at 10:14 am

I think maybe it’s those moments that really bond us all as moms – where we just want that good thing to happen. We’ve all been there, and we’ve all whispered that silent prayer.

Single Mom in the South February 8, 2013 at 4:25 am

I *may* be crying. A beautiful post for an amazing boy and his wonderful mom.

Gigi Ross February 8, 2013 at 10:14 am

thanks for reading it :)

Wendy Clifford February 8, 2013 at 5:17 am

I have a son like yours – he’s now 16 and although he’ll never get academic or sporting honours his main specialist area is being emotionally intelligent and getting on with people.
Well done for recognising how special this is in the face of all the pressure to go for A* grades, he sounds like a lovely lucky boy!

Gigi Ross February 8, 2013 at 10:15 am

It’s hard for him to understand now how important his strong qualities are. But I know someday, he’ll get it.

Kim@Co-Pilot Mom February 8, 2013 at 7:23 am

This brought tears to my eyes. Congratulations to your boy!

Gigi Ross February 8, 2013 at 10:15 am

Thanks, Kim. :)

Tracy February 8, 2013 at 7:41 am

Isn’t that the most wonderful feeling in the world? And one, just one instance like that just makes all those other heartache things that happen disappear. I love it when good things happen to good people. Thank you for making my heart happy this morning – And I know yours is flying over the moon!! :)

Gigi Ross February 8, 2013 at 10:16 am

You are so right. One day can erase a lot of other heartaches. So, so true.

Kate @ Mommy Monologues February 8, 2013 at 7:51 am

The ordinary kids will work harder. I was the worst on the bball team in the 5th & 6th grade. My coach let me know it & my teammates let me know it. I almost quit. Instead my dad bought me a basketball goal for our driveway. My dad & I worked every day for years & I eventually went to college to play basketball on a scholarship.

I will be the first to tell you that I may not have had natural talent, but I definitely had the heart to work my tail off & not only in athletics.

So from one ordinary kid (who feels like things worked out extraordinarily) to another, CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! So happy for him!

Gigi Ross February 8, 2013 at 10:18 am

What an amazing story, Kate. And you’re right, there’s something about the kids who work harder. I have to say that I had it very easy academically, but not athletically. I was told I wasn’t athletic when I was 8, and I believed it (it was a PE teacher). When I finally found a sport I loved at 13 (tennis), I put my all into it and became really very good. Like you, I wasn’t naturally the best, but I was the person who never gave up on any ball. And that means something – not just in a tennis match, but in life.

Thanks for reading. I hope you’ve shared your basketball story in a blog post somewhere. I’d love to read it.

Valerie February 8, 2013 at 8:22 am

Congratulations to your son! This must feel amazing. I hope that one day, when he is all grown-up, he has a chance to read this beautiful post.

JDaniel4's Mom February 8, 2013 at 8:38 am

I can hear the pride you have for him in your wonderful words.

Kerry February 8, 2013 at 8:38 am

Ordinary is NOT over rated. The best part about all of this is you don’t take any of it for granted. The little things and these huge things…BIG! xo

Cynthia February 8, 2013 at 8:39 am

Hooray!!! What a wonderful story! So glad for him and for you.

Bejewell February 8, 2013 at 8:41 am

With or without the title, he sounds pretty extraordinary to me. Congratulations to you both!!

Carolyn West February 8, 2013 at 8:56 am

Let’s hear it for ordinary kids – who become the extraordinary ones when the time is right. Congratulations!

Gigi Ross February 8, 2013 at 10:27 am

Exactly – when the time is right. You nailed it.

Kristin February 8, 2013 at 9:05 am

Ah! I’m totally teary reading this post. He is beautiful and anything but ordinary. Congrats on having an elected official in the family. :)

Jennifer February 8, 2013 at 9:18 am

Oh Gigi, this makes me want to cry. I remember when I tried out for drill team, and walking out to my mom’s car after school while she waited in anticipation. She wanted it so bad for me, and she was so, so happy when I told her yes. I bet you had that same look on your face when he got to the car.

Gigi Ross February 8, 2013 at 10:26 am

I think the moms are probably more happy than the kids in situations like this!

Jackie February 8, 2013 at 9:19 am

Congratulations to him!!

This is such a wonderful post! I can’t imagine any kid having a better mom than you, Gigi.

Gigi Ross February 8, 2013 at 10:26 am

You are too kind. I think if you heard me yelling at them any given day you might reconsider that statement :) But you know, I know I’m meant to be the mom of THESE two kids for a reason. xo

Diana February 8, 2013 at 9:23 am

Congrats to you and to your boy wonder! I have a perfectly ordinary, extraordinary son too and I wouldn’t trade him for the world.

Gigi Ross February 8, 2013 at 10:25 am


Lisa February 8, 2013 at 9:49 am

Great post! I love your part about being extraordinary in ways that society doesn’t measure. As the mom to a boy with special needs, I long for ordinary. I wish that society would value all kids, including the ones who will never make it to even ordinary.

Gigi Ross February 8, 2013 at 10:24 am

Amen, sister. I understand just a smidgen of how you feel. As I said in my post, he was developmentally delayed – pretty severely – as a toddler, and as kids were hitting milestones by leaps and bounds, I longed for ordinary, too. But I’ll bet that there are plenty of extraordinary moments that parenting a special needs child blesses you with that other parents won’t ever have the benefit of knowing or understanding, too. ((hugs))

Suzanne @ The Wine{a}be February 8, 2013 at 10:06 am

So Awesome! Congrats!!! He sounds like an amazing kid for sure. Perfectly ordinary in all the right ways. You should be proud.

Gigi Ross February 8, 2013 at 10:21 am

He’s called Boy Wonder for a reason. I had no idea when I chose that name for him on my blog 3 years ago that he’d continue to amaze me even now.

Beth (OMG! Yummy) February 8, 2013 at 10:06 am

I don’t write about my kids on my blog except in the context of cooking. But I clicked on this post and with this post as it resonates so much with me and one of my kids. In some ways, it’s a sad commentary on what the world characterizes as “extraordinary” in people but in the end, good character and hard work almost always takes the prize, even if it doesn’t always feel that way. Congrats to your son – I’m so very happy for him and you!

Gigi Ross February 8, 2013 at 10:25 am

Thanks, Beth. I have to admit that I’m just as guilty as comparing and defining extraordinary in ways that I probably shouldn’t sometimes. It only takes one day like yesterday to put it all in perspective.

amber February 8, 2013 at 10:19 am

Darn it, Gigi, you made me cry. This is wonderful. So happy for your son!

Mandy February 8, 2013 at 10:27 am

Tears in my eyes and gladness in my heart. Congratulations to your son!

Jay Elliott February 8, 2013 at 10:59 am

Great writing Gigi. I’m so happy for your son’s success. I hope as my son grows that I have the grace and patience that you show here.

Kir February 8, 2013 at 11:22 am

YAY!!! I am so thrilled for him, for YOU. he’s a rockstar, just like his awesome MOM. :)

Renee Schuls-Jacobson February 8, 2013 at 11:51 am

He is extraordinary, Gigi. And I celebrated when I saw this on Facebook and I am celebrating now. Because THIS is the stuff that matters. The ball kids? Meh. That doesn’t last. Those guys may have it easier when they are in school, but your son has something else. He is so not ordinary. It’s the thing he as that is not recognized by schools or coaches. He IS tenacious and persevering. He never quits. He keeps trying. This kid of your wants to succeed. And guess what? He showed you — all of you — that he can. So breathe a little easier. He has the stuff that will make him succeed in life. His willingness to stand up against injustice. His desire to get involved. So proud of him.

FINALLY! His day to shine.

Gigi Ross February 8, 2013 at 1:24 pm

now your comment made me cry.

Darcy February 8, 2013 at 2:04 pm

Congrats to him! He definitely deserved it.

Dawn February 8, 2013 at 2:09 pm

Beautiful post for a beautiful boy. Definite tears thinking back when I was little but never heard my name. So glad that one of us ‘ordinary’ folks gets his chance to shine!

Xenia February 8, 2013 at 2:34 pm

Wow Gigi, can I ever relate. You said it in ways I cannot!

Amy February 8, 2013 at 2:35 pm

Aww, this was beautiful. I was an ordinary kid with a super star sister, so I really identify with this. I was super tense waiting for the election results. Congrats to him!

Chris Carter February 8, 2013 at 2:42 pm

OH what a BEAUTIFUL story about your precious boy!!! I loved every part of it…and your “ordinary son” is adorable and absolutely EXTRA-ordinary in his own right. Just love how you painted this picture and how so many of us can relate to having the angst for our ordinary children to truly have victory somewhere in their life!!! Awesome.

Brenna @ Almost All The Truth February 8, 2013 at 3:22 pm

There isn’t much I could add here that hasn’t been said already, but I think this feeling is something all moms can relate to. Congrats to him and to his always-loving mama.

LaShawn February 9, 2013 at 8:30 am

What a wonderful post about your wonderful son. All ordinary kids have the ability to be extraordinary! Congratulations to him!

Valerie February 9, 2013 at 11:08 am

How wonderful!! Sometimes the extraordinary is hidden just beneath the surface of ordinary. Like an Oreo cookie.



San Diego Momma (Deb) February 9, 2013 at 8:07 pm

Alexa tried out for student council earlier this year and lost out to the “golden girl” who is good at everything (and is her close friend). I asked her if she would try out again next year and she said no because her friend would always win. That crushed me and we had a discussion about always trying and going for it. I’m so glad M did and won.

Rhonda February 10, 2013 at 1:22 am

Congrats to your boy! Especially for standing up to the bully. I felt really proud to be reading about him. He is a hero to so many by doing that. As for ordinary, there is something to be said for it. I am not. I am the mom of a four times national champion who injured out for a year and now they want her back. Ordinary would be welcomed.

Lady Jennie February 10, 2013 at 9:44 am

No way! Yee Haaaaaaaaw

Finally – a kid who deserves it gets it.

Margot February 10, 2013 at 8:50 pm

Congratulations to him! For winning and for being an extraordinary-ordinary guy. With a mom who raised him right and can write an awesome story, too :-)

Wendy February 10, 2013 at 9:16 pm

I’m so nominating this for VOTY. So damn good.

Melissa Burton February 10, 2013 at 9:37 pm

Well, now you made me cry and fall a little bit in love with your son.

I’m continually in awe of how much emotion your writing brings forth. I’m an excellent talker about my feelings and finding it hard to translate into my writing but you really do it beautifully.

I understand that fierce love for your child when he’s sort of the underdog and admire how open you are about it.

Natalie C. February 10, 2013 at 9:40 pm

*sniff sniff* So good! Well done!

Donna Gonzales-Lim February 11, 2013 at 2:40 am

This is beautiful!!! He is extraordinary where it truly counts! So inspiring!

Meg {Phase Three of Life} February 11, 2013 at 4:03 pm

I fought back tears through this entire post. Standing up to that bully?? Wow. You must be so proud of him. (And YAY that he won!!)

Brittany February 13, 2013 at 5:46 am

Gigi I am so proud of him and just so happy he won and to hear how awesome he is. You are raising an incredible little man who, by, they way, looks so much like you (but in a boy way) with his smile it is incredible! Please tell him congratulations again and how really cool he is to stick up for people, and be the patient one and even the rule follower. All of these things will take him far and they all make him far from ordinary.

Caz Stone February 17, 2013 at 1:39 am

He’s clearly brave and kind. You’re very lucky to have him, and he you.

Mel February 17, 2013 at 5:08 am

This is such a beautiful boy! And he has such a brave, kind spirit – something that will serve him so much better than basketball or soccer in adulthood. I had tears of joy that he won his election!

Julia February 17, 2013 at 5:41 am

Wow, I’m sitting here in tears. What a beautiful tribute to your son!

Kathi February 17, 2013 at 9:31 am

What a wonderful post! I, too, have tears coming because I have kids just like yours. Just. Average. Kids. Not athletic. Not popular. Not super smart. Just regular, average, good, friendly, friend-devoted kids.

I raise my morning cup o’ joe to all of the average kids in the world! May you find your place and love where you land.

Kate February 17, 2013 at 11:47 am

Gigi–A boy a lot like yours was my boyfriend when I was in high school. Sports and academics did not come easily to him, but he worked so hard that he did pretty well in both. And no one was ever more kind or generous. I was a very lucky girl!

Your awesome boy will go very far in life I think. And he’s so handsome! :-) Thanks for sharing this!

sheriji February 17, 2013 at 12:42 pm

He sounds, to me, like an extraordinary young man, in all the ways that matter, and in ways that will serve him way beyond the halls of a middle or high school.

Becky February 17, 2013 at 4:02 pm

Such a sweet story to share. Love your mama-heart. So glad for your son! Way to go, VP!!!

Lindsay February 18, 2013 at 8:55 pm

I love this story, how you wrote it, and I love your curly haired adorable stand up son (I hope that’s not creepy!) What an awesome little boy you have raised…I can only hope that there would be such a sweet boy around to stand up for my my boy when and if he needs it. Thanks for sharing:)

Dan S. February 23, 2013 at 12:24 pm

Rhetorical question of the day….what is a better predictor of success in life, skills or attitude? List 10 adjectives that describe a successful person. Is each adjective more of a skill or attitude? Attitude wins easily. If a child is ordinary from a “scoreboard” standpoint and extraordinary character, does that make him ordinary? Time to fhange the rules!!! :)

Raytemtp@yahoo. Com February 24, 2013 at 9:28 am

Great for a Sunday cry while our similar son plays minecraft and I am filled with hope. Our son asked me what ” retarded meant ” because someone said it” the other day.another kid called him ” rain Man” .. his name is Raymond ….so happy for your son.

A Life From Scratch February 25, 2013 at 7:15 pm

This post brought me to tears – you boy is anything but ordinary. What an exceptional son you have!! How very blessed you are.

Joann Woolley February 26, 2013 at 1:30 am

Written so beautifully. This has me thinking about the common topic of bullying and how your son is taking a stand. I have a feeling that next year there just won’t be anything ordinary about him… he will be realizing his purpose and embracing it. Total Joy.

Ashley @ Forgetful Momma February 26, 2013 at 10:45 am

This is amazing, I have tears running down my face. Good for him! And you for raising such a great little man.

Stephanie @ Hugs, Kisses and Snot February 27, 2013 at 7:18 am

This had me in tears. I can SO relate. thank you thank you thank you.
P.S. I can’t think of one reason why the Huff commenters would hate on this. Lowest common denominator I guess.

Jennifer March 4, 2013 at 6:28 pm

Thank you thank you thank you! I have 3 great kids and they are terrific at all sorts of things, but like your son there are average, ordinary just like their average ordinary mamma. We can’t all be super stars, all we have to do is love ourselves for who we are.

Aimee March 8, 2013 at 1:45 pm

Wow. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. This is so beautiful.

Big fat mommy tears from another mom who has been there. Hugs to you my sister-in-motherhood.

Comments on this entry are closed.

{ 2 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: